History 0f Muharam ul Haram
Muslims across the world observe Muharram as the first month of the Islamic calendar, marking it as the New Year. Muharram is also commemorated to remember the Waqia Karbala, the brutal assassination of Hazrat Imam Husain Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and his supporters at the battle of Karbala.
The month of Muharram ul Haram is observed as a period of mourning by all the Muslims, especially those belonging to the Shia community.
Husain was given the title of Imam which means spiritual leader of Islam. When Husain refused to swear allegiance to Yazid, the second Umayyad Caliph, he and his army were brutally massacred while traveling from Medina to Kufa. Read on further to know all about the history and background of Muharram.
An era of warring tribes prevailed in the pre-Islamic period in the Arabian Peninsula. Since there was no single major leadership, conflicts and battles occurred on small issues. However, fighting was strictly prohibited in four of the twelve months of the Islamic calendar.
Nonetheless, provisions were made to accept war in special situations, such as a threat to sovereignty of an empire. The battle of Karbala was fought against this law and tradition of Islam.
Shahadat of Two Nephews of Prophet Muhammad
Yazid then instructed his governor, Ibn-e-Ziad to take action against him. The message for the same was passed on by the Shias to Imam Husain, who along with his family and supporters started heading towards Kufa. However, on their way in Karbala, they were surrounded by the army of Yazid.
They were maliciously tortured and killed. Husain’s head was severed and presented to Yazid. They did not receive any help from the Shias of Kufa who promised to do so while sending the message to Imam Husain. The battle took place on the 10th of Muharram.
The Shias consider this day as a sorrowful and grieving occasion. For them, the martyrdom of Imam Husain is a religious occasion.
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The Day of Ashura
The month is also considered more significant as on the 10th day of Muharram, that is, Ashurah, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hazrat Imam Husain Ali was brutally massacred along with his family and other followers.
Hence, the 10th day turns to be of more religious significance. The day of Ashura is highly mourned by the Shia Muslims. Read on to know how the day of Ashurah is celebrated across the world.
The day is observed for different reasons and in different ways by the Sunnis and Shias. The Sunni Muslims observe the day as a quiet affair.
During the reign of Prophet Muhammad, He observed the local Jews observing a day of fast at this day of Muharram which the Jews considered to be their Day of Atonement. On asking, the reason given for the fast was that Moses started observing the fast as a way to express gratitude to God for liberating the Israelites from Egypt.
While for Shia Muslims, the day of Ashura has become a national holiday in countries, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon and Bahrain.